Eugene writes a variety of articles on the Maven coalition network of sites, covering topics such as gardening, DIY, photography, and STEM.
When I was young, my mother, like many mothers, repaired our clothes. This involved sewing tears in shirts or darning socks and sweaters. New clothes that were only worn on Sundays or for special events were eventually “reclassified” for everyday use and then became “old clothes,” worn while playing in the garden or doing dirty work.
I live a frugal lifestyle and follow that ritual today. I cut up my old jeans, shirts, and t-shirts when they develop holes and turn them into rags for cleaning (who needs to buy special cloth for this!?). Today we live in a "throwaway society," but maybe future generations will shift the focus to repairing and repurposing/reusing.
Now back to buttons!
Over time, a stud button can wear its way out of the fabric of a pair of jeans, from all the pulling and tugging to fasten it (especially if the jeans are a tight fit!). You can easily fix this with some waste cloth and a couple of tools with practically no cost involved.
What You'll Need
- Jeans that need repairing
- Screwdriver or utility knife
- Extra piece of old denim
- Sewing machine or needle and thread
- Hemming tape
- Block of wood
Step 1: Remove the Button and Pull the Two Sections Apart
If the button can't be easily removed, pry it off the jeans with a screwdriver or cut it out with a scissors or utility knife. Next, pull the two sections apart with pliers.
Step 2: Cut a Piece of Cloth for the Back of the Jeans
You can replace the button and relocate it either side of the original hole. However, it could make your jeans too loose or tight. The alternative is to cut a piece of cloth material and use it to reinforce the back of the hole. The button then attaches onto this through the worn hole in the jeans fabric. I cut a piece of denim from an old pair of jeans.
Step 3: Prepare the Hemming Tape
You can sew on the patch at the back by hand or with a sewing machine, but you need to use matching thread to hide the stitches. I use this adhesive hemming tape which is a quick and simple solution. It melts when heated with an iron. Cut some strips to suit and overlap slightly so they're the same area as the piece of cloth you're attaching.
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Step 4: Position the Cloth Patch and Iron
Carefully position the piece of cloth so that it doesn't disturb the tape underneath. Set the iron to cotton and using a damp cloth, hold the iron in place for usually 10 seconds, but check the instructions that came with the tape.
Step 5: Push the Pin Through the Fabric to the Front
Push the pointy pin section of the stud button through the piece of fabric. If this is difficult, you can make a small hole with the point of a scissors blade or small screwdriver.
Step 6: Hammer the Two Halves of the Button Together
Using a light hammer and with the button upside down, tap the rivet back into place. To protect any work surface from damage, use a block of wood or similar under the button.
What Happens if the Two Halves of the Button Pull Apart Again?
This actually happened after I had hammered the two parts together, probably due to the hole becoming worn or enlarged. So if this happens, simply buy a new button or add a dab of superglue to the pointed part that's hammered into the button.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Eugene Brennan
Eugene Brennan (author) from Ireland on October 17, 2021:
Thanks Alexander. Always better to fix things than throw them out.
Alexander Okelo from Nairobi, Kenya on October 16, 2021:
Great read. I almost always throw away my jeans with a broken stud button.